After years of leaks and speculation, the sordid details of producer Bo Zenga’s 2000 lawsuit against Brad Grey occupied the courtroom Tuesday as testimony continued in the wiretapping trial of Anthony Pellicano.
Pellicano’s former assistant, Tarita Virtue, testified under direct questioning by assistant U.S. attorney Dan Saunders that she listened to more than 300 intercepted telephone conversations between Zenga and his attorney Gregory Dovel, as well as his business partners Stacy Codikow and Paul Durazzo; his wife, entertainment reporter Zorianna Kit; and other family members.
Testifying under immunity about the transcripts and summaries she prepared, Virtue detailed the information she picked up in the wiretaps, marking particularly important details with an asterisk. That included Dovel’s advice to Zenga that his case should settle for between $800,000 and $1.5 million and that Codikow (who was represented during much of the case by Dovel) should assert her Fifth Amendment rights at her deposition.
The wiretaps also picked up hours of extraneous information such as social security numbers for Codikow’s brother and parents and the fact that Kit was out of town on a trip to Toronto.
Zenga was particularly concerned that Grey’s attorneys would get his bank records and at one point expressed relief that he didn’t think “Chuck” could get them because they were so hard to track down.
Not mentioned in the testimony was Bert Fields, the attorney who handled the case for Grey. The reference in the summary to “Chuck” presumably refers to Fields’ partner on the case, Chuck Shephard. At one point, Virtue referred to Grey as a client but acknowledged she didn’t know who had actually hired Pellicano.
Virtue also testified that she listened to nearly 1,000 intercepted phone calls involving producer Aaron Russo, who died in August. The producer and onetime candidate for governor of Nevada was involved in a lawsuit with hedge-fund manager Adam Sender over a failed production company. Although the hours of wiretaps revealed huge amounts of trivia, Virtue did give colorful testimony about chasing Russo through Beverly Hills because he was evading service. Pellicano finally served him personally, shouting, “You have been duly served, motherfucker.”
On cross-examination, Virtue’s reputation was scrutinized. She acknowledged she has a blog called “Boobs and brains.” Jurors got to see some of the photos from her online photo gallery, particularly semi-naked pictures from a Maxim photo shoot where she was declared the world’s hottest P.I. More problematic, however, was a blog entry where she referred to jurors in another case as “dipshits.”
Trial resumes Wednesday with Virtue still on the stand.